Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Another from the archive

Today's old video footage is rare, it having been broadcast in 1989 only on Grampian Television, not over the whole network. Certainly I had never seen it before, and did not even know of its existence. It was sent to me by Allan MacLennan who played in the televised game, way back then!

The footage, of the final of the RCCC Rink Championship, is special in another way. The team which won was subsequently disqualified. The Annual for 1989-90 declares that the 1989 Rink Championship was 'declared void' because of 'an irregularity in the composition of the team which won the competition'!

There's little point now in going back into all the details. These are set out in the Annual, in the report of the AGM. An administrative error meant that John Deakin was not listed as a 'Regular Member' of the Reform Curling Club, even though he played regularly for that Club. It was all in the days before a computer database of members was held at Cairnie House. The decision of the Royal Club at the time, which may well have been made according to the letter of the law, was not much in the spirit of the game, in my opinion. But again, I'm biased. I am proud to be one of the founder members of Reform!

John wrote a letter to the Scottish Curler which appeared in the September 1989 issue, in which he defended himself vigorously. He concluded by saying, "I have been tried, judged and sentenced without being afforded any formal process of appeal. As a competitive curler I accept umpiring judgements no matter how controversial they may be. However, I ask 'Do you consider the judgement and sentence fair?' I leave that decision to your conscience."

Sadly, not long thereafter, John Deakin died. And that makes this video of John competing on the ice in 1989, doubly special.

For the record, the teams which lined up for the 1989 Rink Championship final were Robin Gray (skip), Kenny Knox, Allan MacLennan and John Deakin (representing Reform), and Robert Clark (skip), Robert Shaw, Jim Bryson and Johnny Johnson (representing Sorn CC).

Click here, or on either of the images, to watch ten minutes of the penultimate end of the game.

John Deakin, in a freeze-frame from the video. One of the game's great characters, he is remembered fondly. And thanks to Allan MacLennan who preserved the VHS tape from which the YouTube video has been edited.